All the latest information on the newest glitches and crashes making your game a little more entertaining, along with articles about how to do various semi-game related things to help you or your neighbours.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

UID Theft, the facts and how to avoid it.

We've been asked to make a little public information film about UID theft, a growing issue. Usually the worst thing cheating takes is your morality and possibly your game.

UID theft costs people neighbours, friendship and honesty, and often while they're unknowing. The simple fact is that a large majority of people who are cheating don't KNOW they are, they're innocent people just doing what they've been told it's ok.

So, we're writing this in the hope that it helps people understand UID theft, how to avoid doing it, how to spot it as a victim and what to do about it.

How To Tell a UID Theft Site

We're going to play a little roleplay at this point. It shouldn't be too hard as what I'm going to ask you to play is a Frontierville/Pioneer Trail gamer.

It's a normal day, you've sat down at your computer to play Pioneer Trail, read Frontierville Express and order some more tamazepam for mission day.

Then you spot a link on a neighbours profile, or sent to you via messages offering, wow, offering FREE STUFF for the game! *insert gasp*

You click the link and are taken to a site like this, asking you to log in with Facebook.

You log in, giving the site full access to all your personal details and the details of your friends (how lovely and not scary at all) and, in return are offered a list of Pioneer Trail Goodies, I mean free stuff from a dodgy bloke you've never met before, that NEVER goes wrong.

You select something, click and it arrives via an unmarked white van, a man with "kill" tattooed on his knuckles and what appears to be a necklace of human ears.

Congratulations, you've just cheated and, in the process, screwed over your neighbours.

You see, what the site doesn't tell you is this... thanks to the fact you've cheerfully handed over yours, and your neighbours privacy to this site they've used your neighbours UID to clone and, in essence, steal their posts.

What does it do?

OK, time for a second piece of roleplay, this time as the Victim...

It's a normal day, you've sat down at your computer to play Pioneer Trail, read Frontierville Express and order some more tamazepam for mission day.

You log into the game, go to request your colourful variety of wall spam and...

But what?! You've been asleep and you've only just logged in! The game is broken!

No*, you've had your UID used by someone else to steal some items, never mind, request again in 6 hours, as long as they haven't used you again to steal from....

*Much swearing*

*please note: the game breaking IS still an option, albeit a rare one.

What should I do?

1) Make sure you CAN request it.

Sadly the game has limits, we tend to be able to ask for one item that's used in it's own right and one item for crafting each reset time but that's not always the case. Ask a fanpage about any potential locks that might have stopped you being able to ask for that item.

Of course, if it's the first thing you've asked for after reset... well, that's almost a given you should be able to. It is however worth checking this simple bit out before going Miami Vice.

2) Find out who it is.

There is a way to find out who is the culprit. It's slightly long winded and holds you back short term but, hopefully, as it'll open things up long term there's the benefit.

The answer is not to post (obviously not an issue) OR click any wall posts for the item. I know, it sucks not being able to click, but there is a reason.

Now take a little trip to your giftbox, the aforementioned purple box. It opens when you load the game, it's found on the left hand side on loading the first time and is available in your tools menu with Inventory/Collections etc.

As mentioned before, if that item is in your giftbox and you know you've not been able to post for it and you haven't clicked for it... well, three guesses where it's come from.

This is especially obvious on mission release days, sometimes you'll find you can't request the new items even when you've only just got the missions, then you find some in your giftbox... ut oh... obvious...

3) Contact them.

Here's the thing. People don't often WANT to cheat. Usually they do this stuff because they think it's ok. As I said previously, these sites are very high on the free part, strangely quiet on the theft part.

Chances are that the majority of gamers, if they're actually told that they're stealing from, you will stop using these UID theft websites. Something like...

"Hi, I had something in my giftbox I couldn't ask for and haven't clicked. Do you use a free gifting site or somewhere that offers free stuff for the game? I know they don't tell you this but that actually takes away my posts and wont let me ask for it..."

My guess is most people will be shocked by what the sites do and stop. If they argue or are unrepentant (and hopefully only a tiny percentage will) then sadly it's on to...

4) Get the boots on.

Delete them. In fact, to make sure they can't steal any more of your posts, block them too. These sites use your Facebook Friends list to do their dirty business, so you need to make sure you're off theirs.

What SHOULDN'T I do?

This is simple, don't use these sites, if you're unsure, ask an established fanpage, the admins will know. I've yet to find an established site that thinks UID theft is anything but bad.

As for what you can see yourself... well, there are a few giveaways. The biggest, and possibly most concerning is the fact that to use the site, you have to log in and connect it to Facebook. For it to see your friends list and harvest their UIDs it has to be able to use your account to find them.

Many sites use the option to connect with Facebook, for comment threads, interaction, connecting up with friends, there are good legitimate ways of connecting to Facebook. If the only reason for connecting to a site is so it accesses your friends list, take a moment and wonder just what they're doing with that information.

Finally, think over the word "Free". Very little in life is free, and most things that look too good to be true... are. Nowhere, and that's NOWHERE, can a website simply magic up free items that usually come from wall posts.

Sadly the spectre of UID theft will probably never go away... there will always be the unrepentant meanies and people who consider their neighbours as nothing but an item depository. But that's not most players, most players are simply trying to do their best for themselves and their neighbours.I think it's our duty to make sure that folks don't lose their game or their neighbours from simple lack of knowledge.